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Am J Med. 1998 Jun 22;104(6A):18S-27S.

Biologic markers as predictors of cardiovascular disease.

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Department of Medicine, New York Medical College and Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla 10595, USA.


Epidemiologic data obtained over the past 30 years suggest that a number of new biologic markers are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease. These include indices related to (1) altered glucose metabolism, particularly insulin resistance; (2) hyperlipidemia; (3) elevated levels of lipoprotein(a) and homocysteine; (4) increased levels of molecules reflecting decreased fibrinolysis and increased activation of the coagulation cascade; (5) elevations in cell adhesion molecules and other markers of endothelial function; and (6) elevations in molecules associated with infection, inflammation, and vascular remodeling. Changes in molecules associated with increased risk usually occur in clusters. This clustering suggests that effective treatment of one marker may have positive effects on multiple markers. Indeed, several studies have demonstrated that therapies designed to reduce hyperlipidemia may also lower the plasma levels of factors associated with increased coagulation and reduced fibrinolysis. Thus, careful assessment of patient risk factors, and the development of therapies directed toward chains of markers associated with increased risk, may significantly alter the course of cardiovascular disease.

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